Benchmark Tests: Adobe Premiere Pro CS6 vs. Apple Final Cut Pro X

Streaming Media Producer by Jan Ozer

There have been lots of comparisons between Final Cut Pro X and Premiere Pro CS6, with most focusing on features and workflows. In this article I'll discuss a series of multiple-format benchmark tests that analyzed comparative performance between the two programs.

Source and Export Formats

There are myriad formats to test and an unlimited combination of effects to apply. I tried to keep my approach simple. I tested with common formats that both Premiere Pro and FCP X could handle natively, like AVCHD, XDCAM EX, and footage from DSLRs.

I used one basic output preset with each program for all tests, encoding to 720p output using the H.264 codec, Main Profile at a video data rate of 10Mbps and audio at 320Kbps stereo. The files I created could be used for uploading to a user-generated content site like YouTube or Vimeo, or an online video platform like Brightcove, Sorenson 360, or Kaltura. I encoded at 29.97fps for 29.97 and 60p source footage, and at 23.976 for 23.976 source footage.

Test System

I performed all tests on an 2 x 2.93 GHz Quad-Core Mac Pro from early 2009 running MacOS X version 10.7.4 with 12 GB of RAM and an NVIDIA Quadro FX 4800 graphics card with 1.5 GB of onboard RAM.

Test Projects

I describe each test project in detail below. With one or two exceptions, with each format, I started with a simple test, just a single 1-minute color/brightness-adjusted video output to the H.264 target. Then I added a range of common effects, including titles, blurs, sharpening, layering via opacity adjustments, picture-in-picture, and creating a video wall, to see how these effects impacted performance. read more...

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